Radio frequencies may get dearer, telecom operators angry

April 9th, 2008 - 9:32 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Radio frequencies required to operate mobile phone services in India are expected to become dearer, with the finance ministry wanting a huge price tag of over Rs.50 billion. The move - still in the discussion stage - has already invited sharp criticism from both new and existing operators as it will add to their infrastructure costs.

The new pricing methodology recommended by the ministry wants new operators such as Datacom and Unitech to pay Rs.58 billion ($1.5 billion) for getting start-up spectrum, officials said.

The proposal also calls for a price tag of Rs.13.12 billion per MHz band.

The proposal, which has the sanction of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, also wants the new price to take retrospective effect, according to officials.

It also suggests that existing operators such as Airtel and Idea should pay for the spectrum that is not being used or surrender the frequencies to the government.

Officials indicated that the matter would be taken up with the finance ministry.

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